Ganja Vibes Blog

Male Breast Cancer

What is male breast cancer?

Men possess a small amount of nonfunctioning breast tissue (breast tissue that cannot produce milk) that is concentrated in the area directly behind the nipple on the chest wall. Like breast cancer in women, cancer of the male breast is the uncontrolled growth of the abnormal cells of this breast tissue. Breast tissue in both young boys and girls consists of tubular structures known as ducts. At puberty, a girl's ovaries produce female hormones (estrogen) that cause the ducts to grow and milk glands (lobules) to develop at the ends of the ducts. The amount of fat and connective tissue in the breast also increases as girls reach puberty. On the other hand, male hormones (such as testosterone) secreted by the testes suppress the growth of breast tissue and the development of lobules. The male breast, therefore, is made up of predominantly small, undeveloped ducts and a small amount of fat and connective tissue.  

How common is male breast cancer?

Male breast cancer is a rare condition, accounting for only about 1% of all breast cancers. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2010, about 1,970 new cases of breast cancer in men would be diagnosed and that breast cancer would cause approximately 390 deaths in men (in comparison, almost 40,000 women die of breast cancer each year). Breast cancer is 100 times more common in women than in men. Most cases of male breast cancer are detected in men between the ages of 60 and 70, although the condition can develop in men of any age. A man's lifetime risk of developing breast cancer is about 1/10 of 1%, or one in 1,000.

15 Cancer Symptoms Men Ignore

What are male breast cancer symptoms and signs?

By Kathleen Doheny WebMD Feature Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD Some men are notorious foot-draggers, especially when it comes to scheduling doctor visits. That's unfortunate. Routine preventive care can find cancerin men and other diseases in the early stages, when there are more options for treatment and better chances of a cure. Some men, though, would never go to the doctor except for the women in their life. According to Leonard Lichtenfeld, MD, deputy chief medical officer for the national office of the American Cancer Society, women are often the ones who push men to get screened for cancer. Experts say that men could benefit greatly by being alert to certain cancer symptoms that indicate a trip to the doctor's office sooner rather than later. Some of those cancer symptoms in men are specific. They involve certain body parts and may even point directly to the possibility of cancer. Other symptoms are more vague. For instance, pain that affects many body parts could have dozens of explanations and may not be cancer. But that doesn't mean you can rule out cancer without seeing a doctor. If you're like most men, you've probably never considered the possibility of having breast cancer. Although it's not common, it is possible. "Any new mass in the breast area of a man needs to be checked out by a physician," Lichtenfeld says. In addition, the American Cancer Society identifies several other worrisome signs involving the breast that men as well as women should take note of. They include:
  • Skin dimpling or puckering
  • Nipple retraction
  • Redness or scaling of the nipple or breast skin
  • Nipple discharge
When you consult your physician about any of these signs, expect him to take a careful history and do a physical exam. Then, depending on the findings, the doctor may order a mammogram, a biopsy, or other tests.
Read about more cancer symptoms that men ignore »
Reviewed by Dennis Lee, MD on 3/7/2011

Dude, it's your junk! Pot linked to testicular cancer

By Bill Briggs
NBC News
updated 9/10/2012 8:28:10 AM ET
Some blunt advice for the young, male fans of marijuana: You may want to kill that joint and clutch your crotch -- self-check style, that is.
Scientists at the University of Southern California say they've detected a link between recreational marijuana use and a greater chance among males in their early teens through their mid-30s of contracting a particularly dangerous form of testicular cancer --non-seminoma tumors, according to a small study published today online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society. "The group that is at risk for developing these tumors is overwhelmingly young men. They should be looking and paying attention to changes in their testicles anyway," said Victoria Cortessis, one of the study's authors and an assistant professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC in Los Angeles. Further, the fellas' weed intake "might be something they would want to mention to their usual health-care provider." Cortessis and her colleagues analyzed the self-reported recreational drug use of 163 young men who had been diagnosed with testicular cancer. Among those patients who acknowledged indulging in pot, just over half (51 percent) told medical researchers they puffed or ingested cannabis more than once per week. The team then compared the illegal drug histories of those 163 afflicted men with the lifestyle habits of 292 healthy men of the same age and ethnicity. Inside the data, they saw that men who had used marijuana recreationally were twice as likely to developmixed-germ-cell tumors, including the deadlier non-seminona tumors. (The 292 unaffected men were "sampled" from the same neighborhoods in which the ill men had lived at the time of their diagnoses, Cortessis said.) "These tumors usually occur in younger men and carry a somewhat worse prognosis" than other types of testicular cancer, the study reported. Moreover, the USC findings confirmed two previous reports in CANCER of an apparent link between marijuana use and cancer of the testicles, the researchers noted.
Still, the rate of such cancers occurring in men is relatively low: There is a lifetime risk of slightly more than 1 percent, Cortessis said. "The truth is, the vast majority of men who develop testicular germ-cell tumors survive them. There's still a small proportion that don't. Those guys tend to have non-seminonas, unfortunately," Cortessis said. "But also, non-seminomas require more extensive treatment, including radiation and chemotherapy. "We're not concerned only with preventing non-seminomas so that the malignancy doesn't harm the man, but we're also concerned about the later health effects for men that may be related to the more-aggressive therapy" (such as chemo), she added. So, why would weed wield such woes for some cojones in some dudes? The USC scientists are unsure exactly what internal glitches marijuana may trigger that could cause cancer. But they speculate that the process may begin in the body's endocannabinoid system, which is the cellular network that responds to the active ingredient in marijuana. That same system has been shown to be vital in the formation of sperm. The study was was funded by the National Cancer Institute. The researchers also invested a few words of their report to speak directly to the young men living in the 17 states where medicinal marijuana is legal, stating: "The findings suggest that the potential cancer-causing effects of marijuana on testicular cells should be considered not only in personal decisions regarding recreational drug use, but also when marijuana and its derivatives are used for therapeutic purposes." At medical marijuana dispensaries in Washington state and California, that stance not surprisingly drew swift retorts. At the Harborside Health Center in Oakland, the proprietors read the USC study on Friday afternoon, then promptly emailed to NBC News a news link to a recent study in Madrid in which cannabis was found to be a cancer fighter. "The LA study stands in contrast to several recent studies which have found that cannabis actually has cancer fighting properties," said Steve DeAngelo, co-founder of Harborside.  "The LA study is reporting a correlation, as opposed to a causal connection between cannabis use and the cancers. It is a well-established scientific principle that correlation does not equal causality. "I would also note that the sample size is quite small," DeAngelo added, "and the size of the control group is double that of the cannabis users." Two states to the north, at Seattle's Northwest Patient Resource Center, chief executive John Davis argued that any person taking therapeutic drugs should know that all of those otherwise beneficial substances carry some health hazards. "And with a lot of them," Davis said, "the risk is death. "If you're using (marijuana) medicinally, you should understand the risks and the benefits, just like any other therapy," Davis added. "Marijuana, in general, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances on Earth. Can it have some side effects? Yeah. But compared to pharmaceutical drugs, those side effects are much less."